PASCO -- The Pasco City Council weighed Monday night whether selling sewer service to the Port of Walla Walla would hamper Pasco's efforts to attract new businesses.
The Port of Walla Walla has asked Pasco to consider treating sewage from the port's 120-acre Burbank Business Park.
The port proposes to spend $2.1 million to connect to Pasco's system, including installing a pipe under the Snake River.
Councilman Mike Garrison said he is concerned about the possible competition the port's business park would have with Pasco's Heritage Industrial Center and other properties.
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"We'd just be helping out competitors," he said.
The Port of Walla Walla admits it likely would not serve heavy industrial users, such as food processors, said Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield.
But it could compete for warehousing and light industrial companies, he said.
In addition to paying for the sewer service, the port would pay a $2,000 payment in lieu of taxes each month to address the possible competition with Pasco.
Councilman Al Yenney said he is concerned that a payment in lieu of taxes wouldn't help other government agencies that could be affected if development in Walla Walla County drives the need for more houses in Pasco. The Pasco School District is already struggling to provide for all the students in the district.
Councilwoman Rebecca Francik said it may be better to have a little revenue than nothing at all.
The Burbank side of the Snake River already has industrial development from Tyson Foods and Broetje Orchards, both of which affect Pasco, she said.
Councilman Bob Hoffmann said the port would be using sewer capacity the city has and doesn't need, which would create revenue that could help the city pay for a new sewer plant in west Pasco, where it is needed.
After all, the port is willing to pay a "significant premium" for the sewer service, Hoffmann said.
"If we push too much, we'll end up with nothing," he said.
The council plans to give the Pasco Chamber of Commerce time to review the plan and comment. That's something the chamber asked for, Crutchfield said.
* Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org